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Indigenous Law Bulletin

Indigenous Law Bulletin
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Editors --- "A Flurry of Parliamentary Inquiries" [2000] IndigLawB 7; (2000) 4(26) Indigenous Law Bulletin 20

A Flurry of Parliamentary Inquiries

The unprecedented number of recent Federal Parliamentary inquiries into Aboriginal issues is perhaps not unconnected with the Australian Government's appointment in Geneva on 6 March with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. At the CERD Committee's 56th Session, Australia's record on indigenous issues will be scrutinised, and Australia's 10th, 11th and 12th periodic reports to the Committee will be considered.

Inquiry into the Increase in Prisoner Population

The Legislative Council of NSW has established a select committee to inquire into the factors responsible for the increase in prisoner population since 1995 and the consequences of that increase. The Inquiry will consider among other things the effectiveness of building a new womens prison and the imprisonment of Aboriginal peoples. An interim report is due by 1 May on matters relating to women and a final report on remaining matters by October. Closing date for submissions is 11 February.

Phone: (02) 92302456.
Email: <>.

Public Inquiry into Access to Biological Resources

This inquiry will advise the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage by 30 June on a scheme to control access under s 301 of the EnvironmentProtection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) to biological resources in Commonwealth areas. Submissions are invited, and are due by 3 March. The scheme must take into account Australias obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity and should also 'promote a co-operative approach to the protection and management of the environment involving governments, the community, land-holders and Indigenous peoples; recognise the role of Indigenous people in the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of Australia's biodiversiry; and promote the use of Indigenous peoples' knowledge of biodiversiry with the involvement of, and in co-operation with, the owners of that knowledge.'

Contact Geoff Burton.
Phone: (02) 6274 2528. Fax: (02) 62742723.
Email: <>.
Terms of reference are available at

Anti-genocide Bill 1999

The Senate has referred the Anti-genocide Bill 1999 to the Legal and Constitutional References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 June 2000. The Committee's terms of reference include:

Submissions are invited, and are due by Thursday 10 February. An information kit is available from the Committee Secretariat.

Ph: (02) 6277 3560.

Inquiry into Native Title Amendment Act 7998 (Cth) and Australia's CERD Obligations

The Senate has referred the following matters to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Native Title and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Fund for i(tquiry and report:

Submissions are invited, and the Parliamentary Joint

Committee is due to report by 13 April.

For more information,
Phone: (02) 6277 3598. Fax (02) 6277 5706.
Email: <>.

Senate Inquiry into the Stolen Generations

The Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee is calling for submissions to the Inquiry into the Stolen Generations. The submissions deadline is Friday 17 March.

For further information,
Phone: (02) 6277 3560.
Email: <legcon.sen@aph.govau>.

Inquiry into Mandatory Sentencing

On 1 September 1999, the Senate referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee for inquiry and report in March the following matters arising from the introduction of the Human Rights (Mandatory Sentencing of Juvenile Offenders) Bill 1999:

(a) the legal, social and other impacts of mandatory sentencing;
(b) Australia's international human rights obligations in regard to mandatory sentencing laws in Australia;
(c) the implications of mandatory sentencing for
particular groups, including Australia's indigenous people and people with disabilities; and
(d) the constitutional power of the Commonwealth Parliament to legislate with respect to existing laws affecting mandatory sentencing.

Public hearings were held by the Committee in Perth, Darwin and Alice Springs in early February.

Contact Ben Oquist, Media Adviser to Senator Bob Brown.
Mobile : 0419704095.
Website: <>.

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